Carol Brown, PhD, Center for Health, Work & Environment (CHWE) at the Colorado School of Public Health; Brian Quay, MS, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; Karla Armenti, ScD, New Hampshire Occupational Health Surveillance Program; Laura Stock, MPH, Labor Occupational Health Program (LOHP) of the Northern California Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (COEH); Bob Fox, PhD, General Motors North American; Jennifer Cavallari, ScD, University of Connecticut School of Medicine; Pam Hymel, MD, MPH, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products (DPEP); Tapas Ray, PhD, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Research gaps on the effects of demographic characteristics on worker safety, health, and well-being continue to persist. Addressing these gaps is essential to improving how work is designed, ultimately resulting in improved worker safety, health, and well-being. This poster will raise awareness of and elaborate on the research gaps identified in the recently published National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) for Healthy Work Design and Well-Being (HWD) related to understanding the different effects of demographic characteristics on worker safety, health, and well-being.
The NORA Healthy Work Design and Well-Being (HWD) Cross-Sector focuses on protecting and advancing worker safety, health, and well-being by improving the design of work, management practices, and the physical and psychosocial work environment. HWD’s holistic perspective focuses on how work affects overall safety, health, and well-being, including physical, psychological, social, and economic aspects.
Worker demographics, such as age, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, country of origin and primary language, and disability may adversely and disproportionately affect worker safety, health, and well-being. Workers with certain demographic characteristics are often more concentrated in work arrangements that are temporary in nature (Ray et al., 2017) and where exposure to physical and psychosocial risks is more pronounced (Howard, 2017; Benavides et al., 2006). Racial and ethnic minorities and immigrants tend to experience greater job insecurity (Landsbergis et al., 2014) and are more likely to be employed in occupations with higher risk of injury or illness (Steege et al., 2014). In addition, many of these jobs do not provide employee benefits such as health insurance, paid leave, and retirement, thereby affecting overall worker well-being. In March of 2017, while 93% of managers had paid sick leave benefits, only 46% of service workers and 47% of construction, extraction, farming, fishing, and forestry workers had paid sick leave benefits. Less than half (48%) of private industry establishments offered retirement benefits, and a little over a half (58%) of these establishments offered healthcare benefits to their workers. (BLS, 2018a; BLS, 2018b).
In 2020, The HWD Council – consisting of researchers and practitioners from for-profit organizations, non-profit organizations, universities, and government agencies – released the NORA for HWD, designed to identify the knowledge and actions most urgently needed to address occupational risk factors to prevent avoidable adverse health outcomes among workers. A primary objective presented in the HWD Agenda was to identify and examine the impact of worker demographics on employer or organizational practices and worker safety, health, and well-being.
The council identified nine research gaps related to the impact of worker demographics on employer/organizational practices and worker safety, health, and well-being. The gaps are broadly categorized as relating to data collection and data sharing, conducting research, and developing and disseminating best practices. Specifically, nine research gaps were identified addressing multiple areas of worker demographics individually, with the final research gap calling for intersectional research that examines the effects of all aspects of worker demographics on worker safety, health, and well-being. Additionally, the HWD Council has created an implementation plan on how to address and advance these research gaps. An initial and key component of the implementation plan is to conduct targeted outreach that is focused on educating stakeholders and connecting potential research partners to each other and to other stakeholders.
In the early stages of the NORA for HWD, it is imperative to raise awareness of and elaborate on the research gaps identified in the HWD Agenda. This poster will be an important step in conducting targeted outreach on the research gaps relating to ways demographic characteristics impact worker safety, health, and well-being.
Gaps in the literature on the effects of demographic characteristics on worker safety, health, and well-being continue to persist. The NORA for HWD identifies those gaps, and the HWD Council has developed a plan for how to address the gaps and advance the Agenda. This poster not only aims to make its audience aware of the NORA for HWD research gaps related to understanding the different effects of demographic characteristics on worker safety, health, and well-being, but also to initiate the process of connecting potential research partners and stakeholders.